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Irvington News

Irvington Girl Scouts Head Out To Save The Forest

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November 9, 2023

By Barrett Seaman–

On a brisk early November afternoon, thirty-some Irvington Girl Scouts ranging from 4th to 8th grade tromped from the O’Hara Nature Center into the Irvington Woods, armed with shovels and tape measures. The goal that day was to plant two Sugar Maple saplings, each just over six feet tall—enough to be above the grazing height of the overabundant White-tail Deer population that has been stunting the regeneration of hardwood trees like the Sugar Maple.

Work for The Hud Indy

The tree-planting project is part of this year’s New York Power Authority TreePower planting project that will add 74 such trees to Irvington Woods Park. That in turn is part of a nationwide Girl Scout pledge to plant five million trees “to support wildlife conservation and ease the negative effects of climate change,” explains CJ Reilly III, Director of Education and Head of Grounds and Operations for the village.

The Scouts’ laboratory, the 259-acre Irvington Woods, is an old one, with trees dating back to 1704. But the deer are keeping these woods from regenerating. The Scouts, says Reilly, “have become huge stewards in the tree planting and education of the public on the importance of this rare gem that is Irvington Woods Park.”

Reilly, a teacher by profession, instructs the girls on where to plant the trees, about 20 feet from one another in an opening of the canopy so they can grow, how deep to dig the hole should be and how to remove the burlap casing once the tree is in the ground. The casing around the roots, nesting in topsoil, is too heavy for the girls to move, so Reilly and Warwick Norton, a village resident and member if the Irvington Woods Committee, guide the trees into hole dug by the girls.

With the young Sugar Maples firmly planted, the girls trek back to the Nature Center off Peter Bont Road where they will have dinner and spend the night in sleeping bags inside the building.

Partnering with the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, American Forests, and The Arbor Day Foundation, says Reilly,  “we have already planted tens of thousands of trees in all 50 states and globally but we must keep going!”

The Scouts will be back

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